Over the years, if any regional theatre has seen dramatic growth across cultural spaces, it has to be Gujarati theatre. With more contemporary subjects and settings, Gujarati theatre has shone a light on topics and forms that connect with common audiences. And 'Dastaangoi Gujarati' a little-less-than two-hour performance at the Royal Opera House today brings a fusion of Gujarati stories performed in the form of Dastaangoi — an experimental performance that draws inspiration from the 13th century Urdu oral storytelling art form.
Performed by noted actors Alpana Buch of Anupamaa fame, Mehul Buch, Hemang Vyas, Alpesh Dixit along with Sejal Pondaa, and Ojas Rawal, the performance is organised in collaboration with Astitva, Avid Learning, Curated Classics, and Mumbai Theatre Guide under the initiative of Natya Dhara — A Presentation of Regional Performative Art.
Dastaangoi Storyteller & Actor Alpana Buch |
Decked in a white kurta and pyjama, the actors take the centre stage sitting in Vajrasana to tell their fascinating stories from Gujarati literature. "It's a challenge for an actor to restrict the body in one posture for over an hour with no fancy costumes. Daastangoi challenges me as an actor to convey a story effectively just with the voice modulation and few hand moments," says Alpana, who has been part of Gujarati theatre for over three decades.
While each theatre performance has immense scope for experimentation in its presentation style, blending a Persian art form with regional stories can be a challenge. However, Alpana believes that a good story can surpass all the apprehensions. "When a well-written story is narrated with the right emotions, it crosses the footlight successfully. Language can't be a hurdle. For me, a story is a story. I know my Gujarati audience and it is an opportunity for actors to break from the mundane," asserts the actor who is riding high on the success of her television show Anupamaa starring Rupali Ganguli as the protagonist and Alpana as her mother-in-law.
Anupamaa star cast- Anupama (Rupali Ganguly) with her mother-in-law (Alpana Buch) along with her kids and sister-in-law |
It is Alpana's dedication for theatre, she says, that pushes her to manage time for rehearsals despite her busy schedule. "You don't get your favourite thing so easily. Finding time for rehearsals and shows from the busy schedule of Anupamaa, is very difficult but against all odds I am happy that I am performing it," says the actor in conclusion.
When: September 2, 4:45 pm
Where: The Royal Opera House
Price: ₹299 onwards